US, India to identify joint projects in Afghanistan

Posted by on May 6th, 2010 and filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) United States and India will be soon identifying projects for cooperation in Afghanistan, even as the US told Pakistan that an Indian role in the war-ravaged nation was ‘critical’.

The US Ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer, who went on an unprecedented trip to neighbouring South Asian countries said that discussions with the Indian envoy to Afghanistan had been on looking for collaboration in development projects.

‘I had lunch with the Indian ambassador (to Afghanistan) Jayant Prasad. We talked at length about identifying some of these projects and programmes,’ Roemer told reporters here Thursday.

He asserted that such venture would be ideal as both countries have a common vision of ‘strong, stable, prosperous and independent Afghanistan’.

While he did not mention any specific projects, the US envoy said that these could be in the area of capacity building and training of civil services.

‘As I learnt before my trip, and reinforced by my trip, the long term war in Afghanistan will be won on sub-national level with development and diplomacy. What India is doing on development and diplomacy is critically important for the long terming winning of the battle,’ he stated.

Roemer had earlier in April travelled to Bangladesh, then went on a visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Admitting that these visits were unprecedented, he said: ‘I know I am breaking the mould.’

In Pakistan, the US envoy called on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and said that these were ‘one of the issues I brought up to both the president and foreign minister’.

The US envoy, who was a Congressman from Indiana, said that the two Pakistani leaders listened to him ‘very carefully’.

Roemer also pressed for Pakistan to continue success to prosecute Mumbai suspects. ‘This is not something I come to represent a Delhi portfolio but an American portfolio. We lost six Americans in the 26/11 attacks. We also want to make sure that justice is delivered,’ he said.

On access to 26/11 suspect in US custody, David Headley, Roemer said that there was ‘great progress’ in talks to allow India to get access to the Laskhar-e-Taiba suspect. He stressed that there was ‘unprecedented’ cooperation between the two countries in the last several months on counter-terrorism.

‘Whether we call a group, Al-Qaeda, or Lashkar-e-Taiba or Jaish-e-Mohammad, we have now a serpent group of terrorists who are targeting everybody, whether Indians, Pakistanis or Americans,’ he said, answering a query whether US will ask Pakistan to push further against terror groups after it was discovered that Pakistani-American Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad may have got training in Pakistan.

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